Protecting Your Child: 5 Signs To Determine If Your Child Is Being Abused

For parents who love and care for their children, one of the most important concerns is providing safety and well-being in the home. Although many children feel safe with one parent, it may be a dangerous environment with another when parents who are divorced. If a child spends time in another location during the week, it’s important to watch for specific signs that reveal that they may be suffering from abuse.

1. Change in Personality

If a child has a sudden change in personality that leaves them more withdrawn and quiet, then there may be an underlying cause. Children who are abused often appear anxious or fearful both at school and at home. You may notice that they are afraid of doing something wrong when they are around adults. They can act scared that something bad is going to happen on a day-to-day basis or always seem to be on alert of their surroundings.

2. Avoids Touch

Children are often loveable and welcome to touch with their family members, but are prone to avoiding physical interaction if they have a history of abuse. They often flinch or draw back at a simple hug or pat on the back, which can mean that they have been victim to physical abuse. Look to see if they still feel comfortable sitting on your lap or snuggling on the couch. Watch their physical interaction with family members, coaches, or peers.

Protecting Your Child: 5 Signs To Determine If Your Child Is Being Abused

3. Disengaged from Another Parent

It’s only natural for a child to be attached to another parent or guardian, but if they do not show enthusiasm for being around a specific individual then abuse may be the cause. You may notice that the child does not talk about their other parent or show any interest in the guardian. The child may also show hesitation when going to the other parent’s home or will only talk negatively about the guardian if they are brought up.

4. Shows Extreme Behavior

Abuse is known to cause children to act in extreme ways, whether it means acting extremely childish, angry, or emotional. Watch for extreme mood swings or characteristics that are not normal for their personality. They may begin to become violent, have issues getting along with other children, or become overly emotional without any consistent triggers.

5. Excessively Clingy

Although it’s common for children to become withdrawn after abuse has occurred, it’s also just as likely that they can become excessively clingy with the parent that they feel most safe with at home. They may always want to be held or need physical affection to extreme levels that provide for their need for safety. The child may also have a fear of sleeping alone or being by themselves during the day, while reacting with screaming or vomiting. Children may not respond well to being questioned about possible abuse or may be too young to communicate if they’ve suffered. Instead, there are several signs and red flags that often hint at abuse through another parent or guardian who cares for the child. It’s important to take all signs seriously and further investigate if the child’s character or moods does not improve with time.

Information credit to Valerie M. Little Law Corporation, a New Westminster law firm.

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